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Q. 2. Can there be no faving faith where the scriptures are not known and preached ?
A. No; for the apostle faith, Rom. X. 14, 15. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed ? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher ? and how shall they preach except they be sent ? And ver. 17. So then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Q. 3. Are not we bound to believe what learned men teach us, as points of faith, though the things they teach be not contained in the word of God.
A. No; if the things they teach be not contained expresly, or by neceffary consequence in the word of God, we are not obliged to believe them as points of faith ; Isa. viii. 20. To the law, and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them: Gal. i. 8. Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel you,
than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accurfed. And Christ hath charged us, Matth. xxiii. 10. To call no man master, for one is your master, even Christ.
Q. 4. Are there some things in scripture more excellent than others; because it is said, the scriptures principally teach matters of faith and duty ?
A. Every part of scripture is alike pure ; Prov. xxx. 5. Every word of God is pure, and of equal authority, but not of equal weight; as several pieces of gold are alike pure, and of the same stamp, but not of equal value.
Q. 5. What may be inferred hence for use ?
A. First, Hence it is our duty to examine what we hear, by the word ; and not receive
doctrine because men confidently affirm it, but because the scriptures require it ; Acts xvii. 11. These were more noble than those of Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether these things were so. Secondly, That the Christian religion is not notional, but practical; and that impractical faith faves no man ; James ii. 20. Faith without works is dead.
God is a Spirit. Quest. 4.
Hat is God?
A. God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodne/ss and truth.
Q. 1. Can the nature of God be defined, so as men may express properly and strictly what God is?
A. No; Job xi. 7. Canit thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection!
We do then conceive molt rightly of God, when we acknowledge him to be unconceivable: and therefore, one being asked the question, what God is? answered rightly; If I fully knew that, I should be a God myself; for God only knows his own eflence.
Q. 2. How many ways are there by which men may know and describe the nature of God, though still with imperfect knowledge ?
A. There are two ways of knowing God in this life. Firf, By way of affirmation ; affirming that of God by way of eminence, which is excellent in the creature ; as when we aifirm him to be wise, good, merciful, &c. Secondly, By way of ne: gation, when we remove from God, in our conceptions, all that is imperfect in the creature; so we say, God is immense, infinite, immutable; and in this sense we also call him a Spirit, i. e. he is not a gross corporeal substance.
Q. 3. How many sorts of spirits are there? and of which fort is God?
A. There be two sorts of spirits, created and finite, as an: gels, and the souls of men are. Secondly, Uncreated, and infinite; and fuch a Spirit God only is, infinitely above all other spirits.
Q. 4. If God be a Spirit, in what sense are we to understand all those fcriptures which speak of the eyes of the Lord, the ears and hands of God?
A. We are to understand them as expressions of God, in condescension to the weakness of our understanding ; even as the glory of heaven is expressed to us in fcripture by a city, and the royal feast. Thele shadows are useful to us whilst we are in the body; but we shall know him in heaven after a more perfect manner.
Q. 5. What may be inferred from the spiritual nature of God?
A. Hence learn, that it is both finful and dangerous to frame an image or picture of God. Who can make an image of his soul, which yet is not so perfect a fpirit as God is? And as it is finful to attempt it, so it is impofsible to do it ; Deut. iv. 15, 16. Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves ; for ye no manner of similitude, on the day that the Lord fpake to you in Horeb, out of the midst of the fire; left je corrupt
yourselves, and make you a gráven image, the fimilitude of any figure, dor.
Q. 6. What else may be inferred from thence ?
A. That our souls are the most noble and excellent part ús, which most resembles God; and therefore our chief regard and care should be for them, whatever becomes of the vile body; Matth. xvi. 26. For what is a man prohted, if he gain the whole world, and lofe his own soul ? Or what shall a inan give in exchange for his soul ?
Q. 7. What further truth may be inférred hence ?
A. That men should beware of spiritual fins, aš well as of gross and outward fins; for there is a filthiness of the spirit, as well as of the filem; 2 Cor. vii. 1. Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit; and as God sees them, so he greatly abhors them, as fins that defile the noblest part of man, on which he stamped his own image.
Q. 8. What also may be inferred from hence ?
A. Hence we learn, that fpiritual worship is most agreeable to his nature and will; and the more fpiritual it is, the more acceptable it will be to him; John iv. 24. God is a Spitit, and they that worship him, muft worship him in spirit änd in truth. Externals in worship are of littie regard with God; as places, habits, gestures, &c.
Apply this, First, To superstitious men, Ifa. lxvi. 1, 2, 3. Secondly, To children, that say a prayer, but mind not to whom, nor what they say.
Of God's Infinity. Quest. s.
HAT is the sense and meaning of this
word, [infinity?] A. It signifies that which hath no bounds or limits, within which it is contained, as all created things are.
Q. 2. In how many respects is God infinite ?
First, In respect of the perfection of his nature ; his wifdom, power, and holiness, exceed all measure and limits; as 1 Sam. ii. 2 There is none holy as the Lord, loc. Secondly, In respect of time and place; no time can measure him; la. lvii. 15. Thus faith the high, and lofty One, that inhabiteth eternity ; 1 Kings viii. 27. Behold the heaven of heavens cânnot contain thee, how much less this house which I have built ? The heaven of heavens contains all created beings; but not VOL. VII.
the Creator. Thirdly, In respect of his incomprehensibleness, by the understanding of all creatures; Job xi. 7. Canft thou by searching find out God? Canit thou find out the Almighty to perfection ?
Q. 3. If God be thus infinite, and no understanding can comprehend him, how then is it said in 1 John iii. 2. We shall see him as he is ?
A. The meaning is not, that glorified saints shall comprehend God in their understandings; but that they shall have a true apprehensive knowledge of God; and that we all see him immediately, and not as we do now through a glass darkly.
Q. 4. What is the first lesson to be learnt from God's infinity?
A. That therefore men should tremble to fin even in secret; Pfal. cxxxix. 11. If I say, furely the darkness shall cover me, even the night shall be light about me.
Q. 5. What is the second instruction from hence ?
A. The second instruction is, That there is an infinite evil in fin, objectively considered, as it is committed against an infinite God; and therefore it' deserves eternal punishment; and no satisfaction can possibly be made for it, but by the blood of Christ; 1 Pet! i. 18. Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold
-but with the precious blood of Chrift. Q. 6. What is the third instruction from God's infinity?
A. The third instruction is, that those who are reconciled to God in Christ, need not fear his ability to perform any mercy for them; for he is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think, Eph. iii. 20. And those that are not reconciled, are in a very miserable condition, having infinite power set on work to punish them ; 2 Theff. i. 9. Whe shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.
Q. 7. What is the fourth instruction from God's infinity?
A. That no place can bar the access of gracious souls to God: They are as near him in a dungeon, as when at liberty; and that he knows their thoughts, when their tongues cannot utter them.
[Eternal.] Quest. 1. HAT is it to be eternal, as God is ?
A. The eternity of God is, to be without beginning, and without end ; Psal. xc. 2. From everlasting to everlasting thou art God.
Q. 2. How doth God's eternity differ from the eternity of angels, and human souls ?
A. It differs in two respects; First, In this, that though angels, and the souls of men shall have no end; yet they had a beginning, which God had not. Secondly, Our eternity is by gift from God, or by his appointment; but his eternity is necessary, and from his own nature.
Q. 3. In what sense is the covenant called an everlasting covenant ?
A. The covenant is called an everlasting covenant, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. because the mercies of it, conveyed to believers, as pardon, peace, and salvation, are mercies that shall have no end.
Q. 4. In what sense is the gospel everlasting ?
A. The gospel is called the everlasting gospel, Rev. xiv. 6. because the effects thereof, upon the fouls it sanctifies, will abide in them for ever.
Q. 5. In what-sense is the redemption of Christ called the eternal redemption ?
A. The redemption of Christ is called eternal redemption in Heb. ix. 12. because those whom he redeems by his blood, Thall never more come into condemnation ; John v. 24. He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is pafled from death unto life.
Q. 6. Why is the last judgment of the world by Christ, called eternal judgment ?
A. The last judgment is called eternal judgment, not because God judged men from eternity, or because the day of judgment shall last to eternity ; but because the consequences of it will be everlasting joy or misery to the souls of men; therefore it is called eternal jndgment; Heb. vi. 2.
Q. 7. What may wicked men learn from the eternity of God?
A. Hencé wicked men may see their own misery in the perfection of it; that they will have an eternal enemy to avenge himself
them for ever, in the world to come ; 2 Theff. i. 9. Whọ fhall be punished with everlasting deftruction, from the presence of the Lord.
Q. 8. What may good men learn from it? A. That their joy and happiness will be perfect and endless, who have the eternal Cod for their portion ; Pfal. xvi. IF..